HOUSTON – A Houston man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 20 years in federal prison for robbing a Five Guys restaurant and shooting an off-duty law enforcement officer, according to the Department of Justice.
Officials said Keith Thomas, 25, pleaded guilty Sept. 24, 2020, to interference with commerce by robbery and discharging a firearm during or in relation to that robbery.
Thomas was sentenced to over seven years for the robbery, and an additional 10 years for the firearms charge, which must be served consecutively, the DOJ announced. The sentences will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release.
Officials said Thomas entered the Five Guys restaurant at 2902 Shepherd Drive on Oct. 16, 2019. Once inside, Thomas was accused of pointing a firearm at customers and employees and demanding money. He stole cash from the cash register and from patrons, officials said.
Before leaving the restaurant, Thomas is accused of shooting a Harris County constable who was approaching the door. The officer was off-duty working security at the location. Thomas then fled the scene, officials said.
Investigators said they found a cellphone near the restaurant, which was later traced to Thomas.
During the hearing, officials said the court heard details of the officer’s injury, continuing impairment, and hospital stay. Judge Rosenthal noted that what Thomas did that day was evil and caused extreme trauma to many.
“The men and women of our local law enforcement continue to put themselves in harm’s way each and every day,” said Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “ATF will continue to fight firearms related violent crime alongside our partner agencies and keep our community safe for our neighbors.”
Thomas has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future, according to the DOJ.